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bocce
Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2005 2:22 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 24 May 2004 Posts: 2428
we need to do THE BIG HEAT, a wrap and move on. this one is beginning to be a bit stale...

i liked censored's idea of a character actors discussion but i could go with a director as well.
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Ghulam
Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2005 7:07 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 4722 Location: Upstate NY
We should probably do a European director for our next forum.
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jeremy
Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2005 10:11 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 6794 Location: Derby, England and Hamilton, New Zealand (yes they are about 12,000 miles apart)
I wouldn't mind a crack at the western.

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billyweeds
Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2005 10:31 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20394 Location: New York City
jeremy wrote:
I wouldn't mind a crack at the western.


I'll second that. I hate Westerns and would love a reason to watch a few of them.
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bocce
Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2005 2:11 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 24 May 2004 Posts: 2428
when i proposed westerns a while ago, it was not very enthusiastically received...

but if you believe that sci-fi is a natural extension of the western and have seen what you consider to be either a noir western or sci-fi treatment, it certainly would tie our last two genre fora together nicely.
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Ghulam
Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 10:56 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 4722 Location: Upstate NY
The last movie for the noir forum is The Big Heat :



The Big Heat (1953)
Directed by
Fritz Lang

Writing credits
Sydney Boehm
William P. McGivern (Saturday Evening Post serial)

Genre: Drama / Film-Noir / Thriller

Cast:
Glenn Ford .... Det. Sgt. Dave Bannion
Gloria Grahame .... Debby Marsh
Jocelyn Brando .... Katie Bannion
Alexander Scourby .... Mike Lagana
Lee Marvin .... Vince Stone
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Marj
Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 2:53 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 10497 Location: Manhattan
I tried to rent The Big Heat from my neighborhood video store last night. Channel Video is the only video store in the west 80's and probably the 90's I know of, that carries classic noirs, silents and foreign films. Oh, I'm sure there are others. I'm just not aware of them.

At any rate the film was out. We laughed because this has happened before in the course of our noir forum. So please don't take my lack of response to the forum as lack of interest. I'm waiting for someone, probably someone who lives nearby to return the film. Cool
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billyweeds
Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:55 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20394 Location: New York City
The Big Heat is a grabber. Gloria Grahame and Lee Marvin were never better, Glenn Ford almost had charisma for once in his life, and it's a rare chance to see Marlon Brando's sister Jocelyn in a sort-of leading role (as Ford's wife). I love the movie because it never gives in to sentiment.
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Ghulam
Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:43 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 4722 Location: Upstate NY
Since this is the last week of our Film Noir Forum, this would be the time to discuss the definition or definitions of film noir, its roots, its place in movie history, its stars and guiding lights, the reasons for its current fascination and any other observations one wants to make on the subject.

On the question of whrther it is a genre or a style, I still believe it is both. The eerie camera angles and dark scenes as well as other expressionistic devices, whether inspired by the Germans or by Welles or Hitchcock are crucial to noir, but so are the themes of fear, suspicion, treachery, sexual seduction, and an air of looming disaster, all ingredients of the great American pulp fiction. The war time economy's effect on the studios, since the noirs were cheaper to make, may be as important as the advent of German directors seeking refuge in America. Perhaps the biggest factor in the continued popularity of noir may be nostalgia. I ended up seeing 18 movies for this forum, and it was an interesting experience.
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bocce
Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:23 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 24 May 2004 Posts: 2428
i'd rather say it's a style applied to a genre: primarily crime drama which encompasses as subsets the gangster, mystery and detective tho many have pointed out western noir and sci-fi noir treatments.

as a style, it incorporates the manipulation of light and shadow and expressionistic angularities in the camerawork to reveal psychological or emotional juxtapositions amonst the characters or between them and their enviroment.

the scripts are generally no nonsense looks into the ambiguities of the more classical conception of the protagonist as hero. frequently they deal with a certain sense of alienation which must be resolved but rarely reconciles the protagonist with his world. there is an overall sense of desperation and monotonous languor (to steal a phrase from verlaine) that pervades whatever enterprise is being undertaken in a noir film.

i wish we had done more films so i could better make my point about the vast difference in character and affect between classic 40's noir and 50's style neo gangster "noirish" films. in the 40's , it was more about the story and the 50's was more character driven (with the peculiar advent of the psychopath as focal point) i can hear marilyn going ding, ding , ding..."what about M"...but that'll be for after my return from rome).

have a nice easter...arrivederci.
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Marilyn
Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:33 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 8210 Location: Skokie (not a bad movie, btw)
Not M, which as a German film, can only be called a protonoir. Classic noir is American. I would say This Gun for Hire (1942) gave us the first antihero, presented in a psychologically complex way.

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Marj
Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:39 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 10497 Location: Manhattan
Bocce - Happy Easter, and have a great trip.

I thought your and Ghulam's takes were quite good. But I have a question. I saw The Big Heat last night ... finally someone returned it, and it didn't impress me as much as I expected. Although I really liked Billy's comment about its lack of sentimentality. And I loved Jocelyn Brando. Maybe her look was ahead of its time, but I would venture to say, today she would have been an A list actor.

Years ago, I saw Ministry of Fear and remember loving it. So I expected more from TBH. My question is what makes Lang such a great director? I really would like to know.
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Marilyn
Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:46 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 8210 Location: Skokie (not a bad movie, btw)
Lang was a great German director. His reputation would rest assured if he never had come to Hollywood. His camera direction was evocative and suggested depths in his characters with an economy and ingenuity not seen much before. There was also something heightened and weird about the way he photographed his actors, perfect for the noir genre he worked in frequently. I think he connected better with the German stories he filmed, particularly his kitschy and horrifying Dr. Mabuse films. His ability to fill subtext, even when it wasn't there, gave the commonplace Hollywood fare he was handed an irony I doubt their studios intended. I think you will find this in a number of the Germanic directors, from Sirk to Wilder, with varying degrees of subtlety (Wilder, not at all; Lang, more subtle).

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Marj
Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 4:01 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 10497 Location: Manhattan
And I have. But not in this film. If anything TBH was pedantic, as though Lang had phoned it in.

In checking IMDB I realize that I had seen more Lang than I had realized. I agree with you, Marilyn that his reputation may have been scarred by coming to Hollywood.

Btw, I found what apears to be a terrific documentary on Lang directed and narrated by Martin Scorsese.
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Marilyn
Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 4:10 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 8210 Location: Skokie (not a bad movie, btw)
It has been years since I saw TBH, so I can't really talk about that one. I agree that Lang's films are a bit spotty once he gets to America. But if you can connect with his more subtle approach, there are rewards to be had, even in such silly fare as The Blue Gardenia.

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